How an Army hospital project in Texas went $629M over budget

Design errors, time delays and contract changes helped push a military hospital construction project $629 million over the original contract amount, according to The El Paso Times. 

After six troubled years of construction, the new William Beaumont Army Hospital Medical Center complex in El Paso, Texas, is expected to be finished in November. But the cost of building the 1.1 million-square-foot complex ballooned to nearly $1.4 billion, prompting questions about how it happened.

Original building estimates put the cost of the medical complex at $740.4 million. Those costs included $648.9 million for the six-building complex and other expenses, according to a 127-page report released by the inspector general of the U.S. Defense Department. 

Then came the design changes and contract revisions.

The Army Corps of Engineers agreed to pay developers Clark McCarthy $142 million for design changes, contract changes and time delays. Some of the delays were related to interior framing issues and problems with the steel beams and light fixtures, according to the report.

The Defense Department audit found that through March of this year the project had 978 contract change requests and 32 canceled contract requests. There were 453 engineering requests, including design errors and omissions. 

Medical complex construction began Aug. 19, 2013, and was scheduled for completion Nov. 26, 2016. Now construction is expected to wrap up Nov. 15 — nearly three years behind schedule.

"This project has faced challenges both in design and construction that affected delivery timelines and budgets," the Army Corps of Engineers told The El Paso Times. "This project has incorporated necessary design revisions to ensure delivery of a world-class medical complex."

The medical complex will have a 135-bed hospital and 30 specialty clinics to replace the aging 12-story, 115-bed Beaumont Hospital and clinics on a U.S. Army post.

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